(AP) — A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that Arizona plans to hire former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez as its new coach.

The person spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because contract details were still being finalized and no official announcement was coming immediately.

The person said Rodriguez’s hiring was “pretty much” done.

Arizona spokesman Tom Duddleston said he had no information on a hiring and Athletic Director Greg Byrne did not immediately return messages left on his cell phone.

Arizona fired Mike Stoops last month after he went 41-50 in seven-plus seasons at the Pac-12 school.

Rodriguez was fired by Michigan after last season, following three turbulent years in Ann Arbor. He went 15-22 with the Wolverines and the program was cited for rules violations by the NCAA during his tenure. But the team he left behind for new Michigan coach Brady Hoke is 9-2 going into Saturday’s game against Ohio State, and before taking over the Wolverines, Rodriguez guided West Virginia to two BCS bowl appearances.

Considered one of the pioneers of the fast-pace spread offenses that have become so popular all over college football, Rodriguez went 60-26 in seven seasons at West Virginia.

With quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton fueling a potent offense, the Mountaineers won the 2006 Sugar Bowl and were a victory away from playing for the BCS championship in 2007. That opportunity slipped away when West Virginia was upset at home by Pittsburgh, and the loss set off the events that led to Rodriguez becoming Michigan’s coach.

It was a messy divorce between West Virginia and Rodriguez, that led to the school suing him to collect on the $4 million buyout clause in his contract. The lawsuit was eventually settled.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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